By DAPO OLAWUNI
Nigerian seafarers have knocked the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside over his claims that the agency in 2019 provided 7,414 jobs for Nigerian seafarers, describing it as “a blatant lie from the pit of hell”
Secretary General of the Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria, Capt Alfred Oniye challenged the NIMASA boss to publish the names of the beneficiaries of the so called employment NIMASA has created.
Recall that the NIMASA boss at a press briefing recently said the agency have been able to place 7,414 seafarers onboard vessels trading within Nigerian coastal waters.
He said “In January last year year we placed 907 persons against 185 that was placed earlier, in 2018 we were able to place 4,235 persons, but by 2019 we placed 7, 414 doubling the number. If anybody says that this is not a substantial contribution to employment generation then I don’t know what is substantial again”
But in reaction to these claims, Capt Alfred Oniye told our correspondent that the rate of unemployment in the maritime sector is already getting out of hand and this is the baseline for the insecurity in the country.
He charged NIMASA and the federal government to suspend training of seafarers until the existing ones have been successfully employed.
According to him “When you have many unemployed seafarers, you are already creating insecurity.
If you continue to train these professionals and there is no where for them to practice, they use their skills illegally”
“It is a shame that the government is not even looking in that direction, they keep training more when they know there is no job. Stop training for now until we have engaged those who are unemployed”
“I don’t want to believe that the DG made that statement, it is a blatant lie, it is a lie from the pit of hell, if the NIMASA DG has a prove, let him come out with the names of those he employed, we know these seafarers, we sail these waters, I am a trained captain certified in the United States, we know how the politics is played” he said
Also speaking on the claims by NIMASA, a ship captain who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the Dr. Dakuku’s claims are not realistic.
According to him, Nigeria does not have the number of ships to accommodate the figure of employed seafarers bandied by the NIMASA DG.
Speaking, he said “How many ships are operating in Nigeria? Let’s peg ships crew at an average of 20 per ship, 7,414 seafarers equals 370 ships, we don’t have that in this country” he said